This section is from the "Elementary Principles of Economics" book, by Richard T. Ely and George Ray Wicker. Also available from Amazon: Elementary Principles Of Economics: Together With A Short Sketch Of Economic History
I. Stages in the History of Labor
1. Slaughter of enemies.
2. Slavery and serfdom, along with free labor, regulated by custom, operating through contract.
4. Collective bargaining, regulated increasingly by statute.
II. Stages in the History of Production
1. The hunting and fishing stage.
2. The pastoral stage.
3. The agricultural stage.
4. The handicraft stage.
5. The industrial stage.
III. Stages in the History of the Development of the Economic Unit
IV. Stages in the History of Transfers of Goods
1. The stage of barter economy.
2. The stage of money economy.
3. The stage of credit economy.
It is not to be understood that these stages are in any of the classifications distinctly or sharply separated, that we can fix definite dates at which men consciously abandoned one way of obtaining goods, or of exchanging them, and passed to another method. The transition from one stage to another is slow and almost imperceptible. Those students of this book who have studied botany or zoology will understand the illustration when we say that the stages shade into one another as do the varieties of closely related genera in the case of living organisms. Moreover, it must not be understood that all of the features of an earlier stage pass away when men enter into the newer way. In many cases all of the features of the old survive and even have an increased importance in the later stage. Thus trades and commerce are to-day carried on on a far larger scale than they were in the handicraft stage itself; but since then new and important features of economic life have developed to give a new character to the age, and we seek to indicate this change by some distinctive title. To-day, in the United States, we can find illustrations of nearly all the stages of evolution that have been mentioned. Barter, or truck, is still the commonest mode of exchange in some parts of the country, and, indeed, there are comparatively few places in which credit transactions have in the main taken the place of money transactions. It is interesting to observe that, owing to the progressive Western movement of the population of the country, the stages in the history of man's productive efforts appear in regular order from west to east. Thus the country of the frontier is occupied by hunters and trappers; next are great stretches of country which are almost entirely devoted to grazing; farther east, agriculture predominates; trades and commerce are active espe--cially in the country east of the Mississippi; manufacture on a large scale is found especially in the North Atlantic and North Central groups of States ; while finally the large industrial combinations which mark the latest step in development are confined, at least as far as their legal residence is concerned, to the Atlantic seaboard.
Our study of the history of man's economic development may conveniently take the form of a study of the various stages which have been mentioned, and more especially of the stages in the history of man's productive efforts.
1.Economic history is the history of man in his efforts to get a
living; that is, to get the things needed for all his activities of
body and mind.
2.Uncivilized man finds things; civilized man makes them.
3.The history of man from the standpoint of his productive efforts may be divided into five stages: the hunting and fishing stage, the pastoral, the agricultural, the handicraft, and the industrial stage.
4.Other subsidiary classifications are based upon the history of transfers, the history of labor, and the history of the development of the area of the economic unit.
1.What is included in the term " living " ? Mention some
economic elements in religious work. In education. In politics.
2.What two ways are there of getting things? In which way can society get more ?
3.What do we know of the economic life of prehistoric man?
4.What are the five stages of economic progress from the stand point of production ? The three stages from the standpoint of transfers? The four stages from the standpoint of labor ? The four stages from the standpoint of the size of the economic unit? 5. What can you say of the distinctness of separation of these stages?
Bücher, Carl: Industrial Evolution (translated from the German), especially Chs. I and II. Ely, R. T.: Studies in the Evolution of Industrial Society, Pt. I, Ch. III. Lubbock, Sir John : Prehistoric Times, especially the last chapter; also, Origin of Civilization and Primitive Condition of Man. Morgan, L. H.: Ancient Society, Pt. I, Chs. II and III. Schmoller, Gustav: The Mercantile System, in Ashley's Economic Classics, pp. 1-5. Stanley, H. M.: In Darkest Africa, Vol. I, Ch. VII; Vol. II, Chs. XXIII and XXXIII.